For most, the first day and night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland lived up to expectations. For others, the event gave insight into the major themes we can expect the Republican Party and Donald Trump to harp on throughout the presidential campaign.
The many speakers on day one covered a range of topics, mostly falling under either terrorism and security, immigration or veterans affairs. All were interspersed with attempts to buffer the image created by the extreme and divisive rhetoric we have seen thus far from the presumptive GOP nominee.
The day session saw a flurry of anti-Trump delegates attempt to derail the convention. The Colorado and Maine delegations walked out when the convention chair refused to hold a roll call vote on the proposed rules written last week by the rules committee.
The disarray of the afternoon quickly fell out of mind as the night session got started, and the decibels rose from the podium and crowd.
As expected, a major theme was a visceral aversion to Hillary Clinton and the policies of President Barack Obama. Most emotional was a deeply sorrowful speech by Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who died in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Words that will surely work as fodder for the remainder of the presidential campaign: “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
The Clinton bashing continued from there, a clear sign Republicans understand that central to their success in November will be a continuous barrage of anti-Clinton rhetoric.
Former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a registered Democrat and former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, lobbed cannon fire at Clinton, postulating that if he had done 10% of what Clinton did as Secretary of State he’d be in jail today.
CNN political commentator Van Jones touched on a theme that has elevated Donald Trump to this point, explaining that the convention felt like a “borderline hate-fest.”
Between shouts of "USA, USA" or "Trump, Trump," an absurdly excitable Rudy Giuliani, a well delivered, if partly plagiarized speech from Melania Trump (who lifted lines from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech) and the colorful outfits sported by the Texas and Guam delegations, day one ensured those looking for a show were not disappointed.